Jane Doe

I wake with a start but can’t move. I’m on a cold bench, not in my soft bed, and I don’t know why. My eyes won’t focus and my body seems detached somehow. I try to sit up and look around, but nothing works. I’ll have to call in sick. It will piss off the boss as there are so many contracts to review, but I’m in no state to work today. It must be the flu.

Yesterday was a long day. I remember going to the supermarket after work, but can’t remember what I bought, if anything. I hope there is food in my fridge. I don’t want to have to go out like this.

Something changes in my surrounds; there is a distant echo of voices. Their words became clearer as they approach me and I can see that both men are wearing white coats. The man on my right picks up my hand. It tingles. Not the sensation I’m used to when someone touches me. I try to speak up, to ask him who he is, but have no control over my voice.

‘The victim is female, in her early thirties. Appears to have been involved in a struggle. Would you scrape under her fingernails?’

My right hand is passed from one man to the next, with the tingling sensation following. A blunt instrument is used under the nail, somewhere I am meticulous in cleaning.  The man extracts something.

‘Looks like it could be skin. She may have scratched her attacker.’

‘Could we be so lucky?’ The older man asks as he holds out a metal bowl for the suspected skin to be tapped into. He then looks at my face and pulls some hair off my head. The hair feels sticky, and heavier than usual.

‘Serious blow to the head, could be multiple by the look of these lacerations. Can you see the different angles in the cuts?’

The second man peers closer, moving from side to side to get a better view.

‘Would you mind taking a few samples of the blood? I’m sure it will all be hers but just in case,’ the old man asks.

The second man nods and pulls a few long cotton buds from a container. He slowly pulls each one down various parts of my hair and scalp. There is pain when he touches my forehead, different to usual, just distant I guess. By the way both men handle me though, I know they mean no harm. It’s a comforting feeling considering I can’t move or speak.

The older man holds my arm in his hands, gently squeezing all the way down. I feel like gasping when he reaches my wrist but no sound escapes.

‘She has fractured the right radius,’ he feels around some more, ‘and a few carpels by the feel of things. Can you order a full body X-ray?’

Again, the second man nods and starts jotting something down onto his tablet. My hand is placed carefully on the table and I immediately miss the tingling feeling from the touch. My other arm, ribs and legs were all checked for more broken bones but no more are found. I don’t remember doing any of them. And it doesn’t hurt as much as people make it out to. Maybe I’m tougher than most.

I’m still stuck looking at the light directly above me and so lose sight of the older man from my periphery. I occasionally hear him pick something up, or muttering to himself, but other than that, he is beyond my area of consciousness.

I become very aware of him though, when he starts poking around down there. What could he possibly be doing? He scrapes at a few places and returns to my side but doesn’t look at me; probably because I’m trying to glare at him.

‘There don’t appear to be any signs of rape,’ he says, as he puts the latest samples into another container.

‘What was she found with?’ He asks the younger man.

‘Her purse, no cash. A few groceries in bags. The receipt states that a few items were missing,’ he reads, before looking back to his supervisor.

‘Hmm. A burglary gone wrong then.’

The old man looks at me with gentle eyes. He seems sad for me, but I can’t quite understand why. I can’t remember being robbed. I just woke up with the flu.

The two men continue to talk as I start to feel drowsy. I want to close my eyes against the bright light. Maybe they are closed and the light is piercing my eyelids. I can’t quite tell.

I take what feels like the biggest breath of my life and become lighter. I look around, finally able to move my head and notice there is the mangled body of a woman on the table below me. The two men are now working on someone else. I can only see the tops of their heads, but I know it is them. While I can look around, my field of vision closes in. The world becomes dark and heavy. This flu will take more than just bed rest to cure.


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